Wardens capture bear on school playground

image002BILLINGS — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game wardens and biologists captured a black bear Monday after it wandered through south Billings neighborhoods for two days and ended up on a school playground.

Because the bear had become acclimated to people, was dependent on garbage and disregarded attempts to haze in out of town, game wardens euthanized the bear.

Over the weekend, the bear tipped over garbage cans in Riverfront Park and an adjacent mobile home park. It was within a few feet of people on several occasions. Game wardens shot the bear with non-lethal rubber bullets in an attempt to chase it out of town.

On Monday the adult male bear crossed Interstate 90 and showed up on the playground at Ponderosa Elementary School. No children were outside of the building when the bear showed up, but a staff member saw the animal and called authorities.

Game wardens tranquilized the bear at about 2 p.m. on a property next to the school and hauled it away in a trailer specifically designed for bears. Because it was a poor candidate for any other alternative, the bear was later euthanized.

It is not unusual for people to see bears along the Yellowstone River and adjacent hills and coulees. Unless they find something to eat, bears normally move to other areas. However, if they find garbage, bird feeders, pet food, barbeque grills, apples or other food supplied by humans, they will stay in the area. And they can become increasingly aggressive in their search for food.

Biologists believe that more bears than usual are frequenting lower elevations this summer because berries and other traditional bear food is in short supply at higher elevations. They caution people – including residents of Billings and its surrounding neighborhoods – to clean up and lock up any other that a bear could consider food.



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Agencies to treat Soda Butte Creek to restore cutthroat stronghold

image002BILLINGS — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks – in a cooperative effort with Wyoming and federal biologists – will treat 28 miles of streams northeast of and within Yellowstone National Park next week to remove non-native brook trout and enhance the viability of native Yellowstone cutthroat trout.

The project is a cooperative effort involving FWP, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Custer Gallatin National Forest, Shoshone National Forest and Yellowstone National Park. It involves treating streams and tributaries in the Soda Butte Creek drainage, from its headwaters in the Beartooth Mountains downstream to Icebox Canyon, approximately 10 miles from its confluence with the Lamar River in northeastern Yellowstone National Park.

Starting later this week, biologists and technicians will use electrofishing equipment to collect as many native Yellowstone cutthroat trout as possible from the drainage and temporarily move them to nearby tributaries. Starting Aug. 24 the biologists will treat all streams in the drainage with rotenone, a piscicide intended to remove all remaining fish. Biologists are targeting non-native brook trout.

When treatment is complete – anticipated by Sept. 1 – biologists will return the rescued Yellowstone cutthroat trout to the drainage.

Soda Butte Creek supports a slightly hybridized population of cutthroat trout and non-unnamednative brook trout. Brook trout are an invasive species that can eliminate native cutthroat trout within a few decades following invasion. Brook trout originated from fish stocked in Montana. However, they are invading downstream into Yellowstone National Park. This project is intended to eradicate brook trout and prevent them from spreading into the greater Lamar River watershed.

The watershed that encompasses Soda Butte Creek and the Lamar River is among the nation’s largest connected stream systems supporting Yellowstone cutthroat trout. It was scheduled for treatment because of potential consequences from the threat posed by invasive brook trout.

Plans developed by state and federal agencies provide the foundation for Yellowstone cutthroat trout conservation. In Montana, the need for this project comes from a commitment by state and federal agencies to ensure a long-term, self-sustaining population while maintaining genetic diversity and integrity and protecting the ecological, recreational and economic values associated with Yellowstone cutthroat trout.

For more than a decade, state and federal partners have tried to remove fish from the watershed using electrofishing. The effort has been prohibitively expensive and ineffective at eradicating brook trout.  Continued pursuit of that alternative is infeasible.

Piscicides such as rotenone are effective at removing all fish. Angling is inefficient and cannot target young-of-the-year fish. Many of the tributaries are steep, small streams covered with deadfall timber, making angler access unlikely. And any reduction in brook trout numbers (without eradicating the species) would free up food, shelter and space resources for the next generation of brook trout.

Rotenone is a naturally occurring chemical compound derived from the roots of certain tropical plants. It acts by interrupting part of the fish’s breathing process. It is effective on fish because it is readily absorbed into the bloodstream through the thin cell layer in gills. It is either dripped or sprayed into streams or springs at very low concentrations.

Rotenone naturally attenuates quickly with sunlight and is rapidly absorbed by organic substances in the water. Biologists will add potassium permanganate to water at the lower bounds of the treatment area to fully detoxify rotenone and prevent impacts to downstream waters.

Rotenone in extremely high concentrations could have some effects on animals other than fish. However, in the concentrations used on Soda Butte Creek, only those animals that breathe with gills will feel any effect.



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Campfires restricted in south central Montana fishing access sites

image002BILLINGS — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has prohibited campfires, most smoking and most open flames in fishing access sites in three south central Montana counties because of wildfire danger.
Starting early Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, Yellowstone County will enforce Stage I fire restrictions. Bighorn County and Carbon County (outside of U.S. Forest Service lands) will enforce State I fire restrictions starting early Wednesday morning, Aug. 12, 2015.
At the same times, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will restrict fires in its fishing access sites in those counties.

Under Stage 1 restrictions, visitors to fishing access sites in the affected counties are prohibited from using a campfire. They must smoke only in an enclosed vehicle or building or in an area cleared of flammable materials. People may use a device fueled solely by LP gas or propane, which can be turned on and off.

Campfires are permitted in steel fire rings in designated campgrounds at Montana state parks. In south central Montana, those state parks include Cooney State Park, Tongue River Reservoir State Park, Chief Plenty Coups State Park and Pictograph Cave State Park.
No fires are allowed at Yellowstone River State Park near Pompeys Pillar or at any of the region’s wildlife management areas.

The restrictions are in response to dry, hot weather that could increase the danger of human-caused wildfires. They will be in effect until further notice.


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Camp spots at Deadman’s Basin improved

image002BILLINGS — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has greatly improved the camping spots at its Deadman’s Basin fishing access site northwest of Ryegate. The department also has started collecting camping fees for use of the improved sites. Earlier this month, FWP crews graded and added gravel to roads and 25 camping spots in the 101-acre site long the southern side of Deadman’s Basin Reservoir. Fire rings and picnic tables will be installed at all camp sites this summer. Fees for camping in the improved camp spots vary, depending on a number of factors that are posted at a kiosk on the FWP property. Montana has 337 fishing access sites, about four dozen of which charge a free for camping. Deadman’s Basin is a 1,954-acre irrigation reservoir that is host to numerous bird species along with trout, kokanee and more than a dozen types of warm-water fish. The most recent state-record tiger muskie – a 38.75-pound, 50-incher – came from Deadman’s Basin. -FWP-

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Clean Angling News May 2015

Clean Angling News

May 2015



Nature lends a hand to control an invasion

Lat month we featured the story of a Colorado lake that had become overrun by invasive goldfish. Someone released three or four goldfish into a Colorado pond about two years ago and now there are 3,000 – 4,000 that threaten the ecology of the lake In an interesting twist, officials recently visited the lake to plan a goldfish removal program only to find that pelicans had done the work for them. Apparently attracted by the brightly colored goldfish several pelicans discovered an easy meal and the lake was nearly void of the invaders. In fact, as workers watched pelicans swooped in to remove a few more of the remaining fish. Although this is a fun story, I worry that it can help to feed a sense that nature will heal itself. There is no doubt that this is a unique situation that is not likely to ever occur anywhere else. The release of aquarium animals is never appropriate under any circumstances. Even though this story turned out OK, the next aquarium release could cause huge problems.


Previously Posted on Facebook

We review news stories on a daily basis and post stories of interest on Facebook as we find them. However, we know that many of you are not using Facebook so here are the links we posted during October on our Facebook pages. Our Clean Angling Facebook page is where we post links that deal with fish, fishing, cleaning, boat inspections, and other issues of interest to anglers. This summer, boaters in Grand Teton National Park will need to purchase two different decals before they will be allowed to boat on park waters Sportfishing in the Great Lakes has seen steady declines as invasive species alter fish communities and significantly change fishing tactics. Will commercial fishing charters be able to survive? Yellowstone Park has teamed with the states of Wyoming and Montana to develop a plan to remove non-native brook trout from the Soda Butte drainage. The Park is accepting public comment on the plan Fishing in waters infested with zebra and quagga mussels presents challenges to anglers. Here is a point-by-point discussion of how to best fish for smallmouth bass in infested waters Red tailed catfish are a predatory invader from South America that is becoming established in the US. They can grow to 4 feet in length with weights over 100 pounds. Read about the fish caught by a 5 year old Are you interested in hunting for invasive species in California? Here is some info on the law Snakeheads are vicious predatory invasive fish that have become established in some Eastern US waters. Although they are unwanted and we would eliminate them if possible, they make for good sport After seeing a decline in invasive fish species, officials in Michigan are reporting that native fish populations in the Great Lakes are expanding rapidly South Dakota has published a specially themed issue of the “South Dakota Conservation Digest” that is devoted to invasive species articles and advice Salmon and Steelhead populations in the Columbia River have faced serious threats that have led to near extinction of some populations. Now there is a long-feared new threat – invasive northern pike The discovery of Asian carp invasions in Alabama has officials warning that the invasive fish may have an impact on some popular bass fishing lakes Outdoor recreationists have been identified as a primary vector for spreading weeds in Utah. In response, officials are asking all outdoor enthusiasts to make sure they are weed seed free On our Invasive Species Action Network Facebook page we post all types of invasive species news including stories about all types of invaders, policy issues and other items of interest. In Great Britain, researchers have proclaimed the harlequin ladybird beetle to be the fastest spreading invasive species Recently, Minnesota officials have reported success in treating Christmas Lake for zebra mussels. However, new diving surveys show that adult mussels are still found in the lake Earwigs are a common garden pest that can cause significant crop damage. However, most people are unaware that earwigs are invasive China has done little to combat the introduction of invasive species. However, sightings of a bird sometimes called “feathered locusts” has led to a call for stricter regulations on imported species The BLM is planning on creating fuel breaks along a 57 mile stretch of Interstate 84 near Boise Idaho.However, the project is being criticized for promoting the planting of an invasive grass species   Minnesota is making the fight against invasives a local issue by providing direct grants to localities engaged in invasive species control and prevention. This is a new model of approaching the issue and we can expect to learn much   Non-native parakeet populations are rapidly expanding in both North America and Europe. New research shows that all of these invaders are genetically identical and all came from a small area in South America Fednav Limited, the largest Canadian operator of international ships in the Great Lakes, has announced that they are equipping their new ships with ballast water treatment systems to reduce invasive species transport  Most people believe that earthworms are beneficial creatures that help to maintain healthy soils. This is far from true as, in fact, earthworms are invaders that have a significant impact on the environment Our Forest Pest Fly Tying Project Facebook page provides information for anyone concerned about the spread of forest pest insects. Visit the page and join the conversation about the problem and our unique fly tying program. Montana Governor Steve Bullock was on hand to greet and congratulate the student fly tiers who tied Asian longhorned beetle flies at the state Arbor Day Celebration Pine forests in the Rockies have been hit hard by insect pests including the mountain pine beetle and the spruce bud worm. Now another pest is decimating forests in Colorado


May 2015


  Those of you who are regular readers of this newsletter probably realize that there is a seasonality to the types of invasive species stories that we report. Originally, this newsletter was aimed primarily at an audience of anglers and our intent was to feature stories that relate directly to fishing. However, we quickly realized that we serve a much larger audience and we now cover all types of invasive species stories.     I started by talking about the seasonality of stories and one place where we really see a lot of variation is stories related to fishing. Not surprisingly, the winter months are typically slow on these types of stories and as fishing seasons arrive the number of fishing related stories increases significantly. You will find that this issue of the newsletter has a number of articles that highlight the intersection of fishing and invasive species.     At the same time, stories about research topics and our fly tying program fall off a lot in the summer. Consequently, we have an always changing mix of stories that we select from the hundreds of stories we review each month.    If there is a particular type of story  you enjoy please let us know and we will try to include similarly themed stories when we can. I hope you will continue to review as many of the stories that we list as possible. It’s rare that I promote a story that is not of special significance.    As always, I hope you will get in touch with me if you have questions or have invasive species stories to share.

Bob Wiltshire Executive Director ISAN The Clean Angling News is published monthly by the Invasive Species Action Network. Please send comments, questions and complaints to newsletter@stopans.org.


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FWP looking for comments on new fishing regulations

image002BILLINGS — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is asking Montana anglers what they would like to see in state fishing regulations for the next four years and to comment on the department’s proposals.

FWP’s recommendations and an online comment form are available online at the department’s website –http://fwp.mt.gov – and follow the links to Fishing, Fishing Regulations and “Comment on 2016-19 Fishing Regulations.”

FWP also has scheduled two public meetings in May to accept comments and suggestions:

  • Tuesday, May 19 at 7 p.m. at the Columbus Fire Hall, 944 East Pike Ave.
  • Wednesday, May 20 at 7 p.m. FWP’s Region 5 Headquarters, 2300 Lake Elmo Drive in Billings Heights.

Every four years, FWP considers all facets of Montana’s fishing regulations. The rules currently under scrutiny would run from 2016 through 2019.

As part of the process, FWP is asking anglers what parts of the regulations they would like to change. They also will ask anglers to comment on FWP’s proposals, which are designed to simplify the regulations.

All comments are due by May 31. FWP biologists will draft their recommendations in June and the FWP Commission will finalize regulations in July.

Anglers may submit their comments and suggestions at one of the meetings, in writing or online. The online form is at:


Written comments may be mailed to FWP’s headquarters at:
Fisheries, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
P.O. Box 200701
Helena, MT 59620-0701

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FWP seeking landowners for Block Management

image002BILLINGS — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) is seeking landowners in Region 5 who are interested in participating in Block Management. Block Management is a cooperative effort between landowners, public land management agencies, and FWP to help manage public hunting activities and provide equitable hunting opportunities.

In the Block Management program, landowners and FWP enter into voluntary agreements that spell out how hunting will be conducted on the landowner’s property. Items such as permission requirements, times when permission will be granted, vehicle use, and numbers of hunters are a few examples of what is covered in a contract.

Block Management offers various benefits to landowners enrolled in the program. These include compensation to offset impacts associated with allowing public hunting, hunter and wildlife management, and a complimentary, non-transferable sportsman’s license. Additionally, participants do not relinquish any rights by enrolling and are covered by Montana’s recreational liability statute as well as livestock loss reimbursement, both of which are extended to landowners who allow access at no charge.

Yearly budgets are limited, so lands offered for enrollment are prioritized on a region-wide basis. Habitat quality, regional access needs, and hunter opportunity are considered while prioritizing properties.

For more information, or to receive an application package, interested landowners can contact Dale Nixdorf, R5 Block Management Coordinator, at 406-247-2959, or the Region 5 FWP office at 406-247-2940.


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Clean Angling News March 2015


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No Changes Planned for Paddlefish Season

image002BILLINGS — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has no plans to change its paddlefish season as a result of January’s oil spill in the Yellowstone River west of Glendive.

On Jan. 17, 2015, a 12-inch-diameter Bridger Pipeline broke beneath the Yellowstone River six miles upstream from Glendive, dumping some 30,000 gallons of crude oil into the water. Efforts to clean up the spill and account for damage from the oil were thwarted until last week because ice covered the river.

FWP has issued a fish-consumption advisory for any fish caught below the spill site, warning anglers to use caution when deciding whether to eat their catches from the river until the department can determine whether they are safe. The advisory will be in effect at least for two more weeks while FWP tests fish caught since ice-out.

Montana’s 2015 paddlefish season on the Yellowstone River opens May 15. The department has no plans to change the season as a result of the oil spill.

FWP biologists said this week that paddlefish spend much of the winter in Lake Sakakawea on the Missouri River in west central North Dakota. The fish do not stage at the upstream end of the lake and begin their migration toward the Yellowstone River until early May. FWP biologists do not believe that the Yellowstone River’s paddlefish were directly exposed to the spilled oil.

As a result, the department has no plans to postpone or change the 2015 paddlefish season or issue an advisory for consumption of paddlefish fillets or caviar.



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Saint Patrick’s Day Parade 2015

St. Patrick’s Day Parade 3/14/15 in Billings. Weather was very nice
but I thought it was going to be a bit nicer.

We had a good turnout.  We took a group member photo for all the members and kids that showed  up to help decorate and ride on the float. Roger, Sharon Henry and  grandkids, Mike Spear, Clayton Sorenson, Darcy Russell, Lee and Leown Keyser, Ryan, Terry Harris and grandkids, Henry and Linda Yeager, Clay  Buckmiller, Johnny, Bridgette Cash and kids, Greg and Becky Heil, and hopefully new member Ridon and her daughter Raelin.
Johnny and Bridgette Cash had friends and family show up and I think  some of them may be joining and maybe have joined. Nic and Ciarra rode on the float with us as well.

Thanks to all that showed up and helped. We all had a really good
time, lots of walkers, and lots of candy, kids fishing day flyers,  bobbers, and folding Frisbees handed out. We almost had enough to make  it through the whole parade.

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